THE COW AND THE TIGER – *The surrendered soul’s confidence.*

Value        : Surrender

Sub value : faith

 


Once upon a time, a cow went out to graze in the jungle. Suddenly, she noticed a tiger racing towards her. She turned and fled, fearing that at any moment the tiger would sink his claws into her. The cow desperately looked for some place to escape and at last saw a shallow pond. Barely evading the tiger’s reach, she jumped into the pond, and in the heat of the chase, the tiger blindly leaped after her.

To the surprise of them both, the pond was extremely shallow yet filled with deep recesses of mud. After toppling over each other, the cow and the tiger found themselves a short distance apart, stuck in the mud up to their necks. Both had their heads above water but were unable to free themselves no matter how much they writhed.

The tiger repeatedly snarled at the cow and roared, “I am going to enjoy the sound of crunching your bones between my teeth!”

He thrashed about in a fury but soon became fretful as he found no prospect of escape.

*The cow thoughtfully laughed as the tiger struggled to free himself and asked him, “Do you have a master?”*

The tiger disdainfully replied, “I am the king of the jungle. Why do you ask me if I have a master? I myself am the master!”

The cow said, “You may be the king of the jungle, but here all your power has failed to save your life.”

“And what about you?” Retorted the tiger. “You are going to die here in this mud too!”’

The cow smiled mildly and said, “No, I am not.”

“If even I, the king of the jungle cannot free myself from this mud”, snapped the tiger, “Then how can you, an ordinary cow?”

*The cow gently replied, “I cannot free myself from this mud, but my master can. When the sun sets and he finds me absent at home, he will come looking for me. Once he finds me, he will raise me up and escort me home sweet home.”*

The tiger fell silent and coldly glared at the cow.

*Soon enough, the sun set, and the cow’s master arrived. He immediately recognised the plight she was in and lifted her to safety. As they walked home, the cow and the master both felt renewed gratitude for one another and pitied the tiger they both would have been happy to save if only the tiger had allowed them.*

Learning
The cow represents a surrendered soul, the tiger represents an proud person, and the master represents almighty God who is known as the loving protector of the cows and the world. The mud represents the material world, and the chase represents the struggle for existence therein.

*The surrendered soul relies upon the Lord rather than themselves for all the necessities of life. No matter how many troubles appeared to be created by the proud persons of the world who reject the guardianship of the Lord out of the false ego of considering themselves capable of fending for themselves, the surrendered souls know that everything is really in the hands of the Lord, the all-loving. They are fully confident in His protection, though they know sometimes they just need to wait a little while until sundown.*

Buddha Tales – Power of chanting Lord’s name

Value          : Devotion
Subvalue   : faith, conviction
 
Once, Lord Buddha knocked at the door of a lady for alms. While offering the food, the lady asked Him, “Why do people remember God by chanting his Name and attending satsang? Are they important?”
Lord Buddha smiled, and promised that He would tell her the answer the next day. He also requested her to prepare plenty of Kheer ( a liquid rice pudding), to be able to answer the question she had asked. The lady did not understand why Lord Buddha needed the Kheer. But since she was very curious, she decided to prepare the Kheer for Him.
The next day, Lord Buddha came and requested for alms in His bowl. The lady brought the big vessel of Kheer she had prepared, and stepped forward to pour the Kheer in the bowl. She was surprised to find that the bowl was full of mud. There was no space to pour the Kheer. She did not know what to do.
Lord Buddha instructed her to pour the Kheer on top of the mud. She followed the instructions and began pouring the Kheer into the bowl.
At first, the Kheer spilled on the ground, but gradually, due to the force with which the Kheer flowed into the bowl, the mud began to spill out as well. Finally, all the mud spilled out, and the bowl was filled to the top with Kheer. She was puzzled about why Lord Buddha had asked her to pour and waste so much of the Kheer.
Lord Buddha then explained, “I have just showed you the importance of chanting (the Lord’s Name) and satsang on the impure mind.
When we chant and attend satsang, we constantly pour the positive thought of God’s Name into our mind. Even if our mind is at first filled with bad qualities like anger, jealousy, greed, lust, etc., these slowly wash away, and it is then filled with God’s Name that is full of purity and joy like God is.”
The lady understood instantly and started chanting God’s Name with faith everyday.
Learning: 
The above story explains how chanting the Lord’s Name, and attending satsang purify the mind. Like the lady, we too, can start chanting God’s Name, and try to be in satsang of saints or at least spiritual books, to get rid of our negative feelings and experience joy everyday.

Nagarjuna and his begging bowl

Value     : Honesty

Subvalue : obedience, discipline

 

A beautiful story is told about a great mystic, Nagarjuna:

He was a fakir, but he was loved by all real seekers. A queen asked him one day to come to the palace, to be a guest in the palace. Nagarjuna went. The queen asked him a favour.

Nagarjuna said, “What do you want?”

The queen said, “I want your begging bowl.”

Nagarjuna gave it — that was the only thing he had — his begging bowl. And the queen brought a golden begging bowl, studded with diamonds and gave it to Nagarjuna. She said, “Now you keep this. I will worship the begging bowl that you have carried for years — it has some of your vibe. It will become my temple. And a man like you should not carry an ordinary wooden begging bowl — keep this golden one. I have had it made specially for you.”

It was really precious. If Nagarjuna had been an ordinary mystic he would have said, “I cannot touch it. I have renounced the world.” But for him it was all the same, so he took the bowl.

When he left the palace, a thief saw him. He could not believe his eyes: “A naked man with such a precious thing! How long can he protect it?” So the thief followed….

Nagarjuna was staying outside the town in a ruined ancient temple — no doors, no windows. It was just a ruin. The thief was very happy: “Soon Nagarjuna will have to go to sleep and there will be no difficulty — I will get the bowl.”

The thief was hiding behind a wall just outside the door — Nagarjuna threw the bowl outside the door. The thief could not believe what had happened. Nagarjuna threw it because he had watched the thief coming behind him, and he knew perfectly well that he was not coming for him — he was coming for the bowl, “So why unnecessarily let him wait? Be finished with it so he can go, and I can also rest.”

“Such a precious thing! And Nagarjuna has thrown it so easily.” The thief could not go without thanking him. He knew perfectly well that it had been thrown for him. He peeked in and he said, “Sir, accept my thanks. But you are a rare being — I cannot believe my eyes. And a great desire has arisen in me. I am wasting my life by being a thief — and there are people like you too? Can I come in and touch your feet?”

Nagarjuna laughed and he said, “Yes, that’s why I threw the bowl outside — so that you could come inside.”

The thief was trapped. The thief came in, touched the feet… and at that moment the thief was very open because he had seen that this man was no ordinary man. He was very vulnerable, open, receptive, grateful, mystified, stunned. When he touched the feet, for the first time in his life he felt the presence of the divine.

He asked Nagarjuna, “How many lives will it take for me to become like you?”

Nagarjuna said, “How many lives? — it can happen today, it can happen now!”

The thief said, “You must be kidding. How can it happen now? I am a thief, a well-known thief The whole town knows me, although they have not yet been able to catch hold of me. Even the king is afraid of me, because thrice I have entered and stolen from the treasury. They know it, but they have no proof. I am a master thief — you may not know about me because you are a stranger in these parts. How can I be transformed right now?”

And Nagarjuna said, “If in an old house for centuries there has been darkness and you bring a candle, can the darkness say, ‘For centuries and centuries I have been here — I cannot go out just because you have brought a candle in. I have lived so long’? Can the darkness give resistance? Will it make any difference whether the darkness is one day old or millions of years old.

The thief could see the point: darkness cannot resist light; when light comes, darkness disappears. Nagarjuna said, You may have been in darkness for millions of lives — that doesn’t matter — but I can give you a secret, you can light a candle in your being.”

And the thief said, “What about my profession? Have I to leave it?”

Nagarjuna said, “That is for you to decide. I am not concerned with you and your profession I can only give you the secret of how to kindle a light within your being, and then it is up to you.”

The thief said, “But whenever I have gone to any saints, they always say, ‘First stop stealing — then only can you be initiated.'”

It is said that Nagarjuna laughed and said, “You must have gone to thieves, not to saints. They know nothing. You just watch your breath — the ancient method of Buddha — just watch your breath coming in, going out. Whenever you remember, watch your breath. Even when you go to steal, when you enter into somebody’s house in the night, go on watching your breath. When you have opened the treasure and the diamonds are there, go on watching your breath, and do whatsoever you want to do — but don’t forget watching the breath.”

The thief said, “This seems to be simple. No morality? No character needed? No other requirement?”

Nagarjuna said, “Absolutely none — just watch your breath.”

And after fifteen days the thief was back, but he was a totally different man. He fell at the feet of Nagarjuna and he said, “You trapped me, and you trapped me so beautifully that I was not even able to suspect. I tried for these fifteen days — it is impossible. If I watch my breath, I cannot steal. If I steal, I cannot watch my breath. Watching the breath, I become so silent, so alert, so aware, so conscious, that even diamonds look like pebbles. You have created a difficulty for me, a dilemma. Now what am I supposed to do?”

Nagarjuna said, “Get lost! — whatsoever you want to do. If you want that silence, that peace, that bliss, that arises in you when you watch your breath, then choose that. If you think all those diamonds and gold and silver is more valuable, then choose that. That is for you to choose! Who am I to interfere in your life?”

The man said, “I cannot choose to be unconscious again. I have never known such moments. Accept me as one of your disciples, initiate me.”

Nagarjuna said, “I have initiated you already.”

(From – Inspirational Stories)

The Divine Upholder of all – Story from Mahabharata – The fight between Arjun and Karna.

Value : Truth

Sub value : Faith, humility

There are many caveats of Mahabharata, some which may not be mentioned in the original. But many of them are very interesting and provide deep insights.This is one such story:

The battle of Kurukshetra was at its zenith, Arjuna and Karna were  fiercely fighting each other. It was an epic battle to witness,  with a  flurry of arrows were being exchanged rapidly from the quivers  of unparalleled warriors of that time.  It’s said that the Gods  too were witnessing this epic battle between the two great warriors. The impact of Arjuna’s arrows were so intense  that Karna’s chariot would  sway and be pushed back by 25-30 feet. People who witnessed this, were amazed  by  Arjuna’s skills. Karna wasn’t inferior either, his arrows would make   Arjuna’s chariot  sway and push it behind by 3-4 feet.

Lord Krishna, Arjuna’s charioteer  would  always applaud Karna, every time his arrow would hit Arjuna’s chariot, much to Arjuna’s dismay;   but not once did Krishna applaud Arjuna’s skills. At the end of the day, Arjuna  unable to control his annoyance , he asked Krishna “Oh Lord, the arrows I shot at Karna’s chariot,  the  displaced the chariot like a feather in the wind, but not once did you appreciate me or congratulate me. Rather you appreciated Karna’s skill knowing well it wasn’t as potent as mine”.

    

The all knowing Lord Krishna smiled and replied “Oh, Arjuna, remember, your chariot was being protected by “Hanuman” at the top as the flag, “Me” as your charioteer in the front and by “Sheshnag” at its wheels, yet the whole chariot would still sway and displace whenever the valiant Karna would hit us with his arrows”. Karna’s chariot was not protected by any such force, he was on his own, yet he fought  so valiantly”.

It is said that after the battle of Kurukshetra was over, Krishna refused to get off the chariot till Arjuna got down first. Once Krishna alighted from the chariot, it burst into flames and turned to dust.

Krishna then said “Oh Arjuna, your chariot was destroyed by Karna long time ago, it is I who was protecting it thus far”.

“Never in your life have the arrogance to say that you have achieved something, if you have achieved something, it is the divine will, it is the Divine Intervention that has always protected you, cleared your path and gave you the right opportunities at the right time”.

Learning : Its God’s grace and benevolence, that protects us from many pitfalls and dangers in life. Our lives and situations, whether they are good, bad, horrible or passable, all happen with Him as the upholder; as the scriptures say not a blade of grass moves without His consent.

 

Sai Satcharita- Chapter 9- Love and See God in All

sai satcharita 1

Value- Love, Devotion

Sub value- Faith, see God in all

Story 1

Devotion of Mrs Tarkhad

Mrs. Tarkhad loved Baba and always offered three things− Bharit (roasted eggplant mixed with yogurt and spice), Kacharya (circular pieces of eggplant fried in ghee) and a Peda (a sweet). How Baba accepted them is written below.

Once, Mr. Raghuvir Bhaskar Purandare of Bandra, a great devotee of Baba, left for Shirdi with his family. Before they left, Mrs. Tarkhad went to Mrs. Purandare and gave her two eggplants and requested her to prepare Bharit with one and Kacharya with the other. She asked Mrs. Purandare to serve Baba with both these dishes.

After reaching Shirdi, Mrs. Purandare went with her dish of Bharit to the Masjid. Baba was just about to start his meals and found the Bharit very tasty. So He distributed it to everyone and said that He wanted Kacharyas now. A word was sent to Radha Krishna-Mai that Baba wanted Kacharyas. She was in a fix, as that was no season for eggplant.

When an enquiry was made as to who had brought the Bharit, it was found that Mrs. Purandare was also entrusted with the duty of serving Kacharyas. Everybody then came to know the significance of Baba’s enquiry regarding Kacharyas, and were wonder-struck at Baba’s all-pervasive knowledge.

In December 1915, Govind Balaram Mankar, wanted to go to Shirdi to perform the obsequies of his father. Before he left, he came to see Mr. Tarkhad. Mrs. Tarkhad wanted to send something with him to Baba. She searched the whole house but found nothing, except a Peda(an oval shaped sweet) which had already been offered as naivedya. Govind was in mourning and yet out of great devotion to Baba, she sent the Peda with him, hoping that Baba would accept and eat it.

Govind went to Shirdi and saw Baba, but forgot to take the Pedawith him. Baba simply waited; When he again went to see Baba in the afternoon, he again forgot to take the Peda with him. Baba could wait no longer and asked him, “What did you bring for me?” “Nothing” was the reply. Baba asked him again and the same reply came forth again. Then Baba asked him the leading question, “Did the mother (Mrs. Tarkhad) not give you some sweet for Me?”

Govind then remembered the whole thing. He felt abashed, asked for Baba’s pardon, ran to his lodging, brought the Peda and gave it to Baba. As soon as Baba received it, He put it into His mouth and swallowed it. Thus, the devotion of Mrs. Tarkhad was recognized and accepted. “As men believe in Me, so do I accept them” (Gita, 4-11) was proved in this case.

Story 2

How Baba Was Fed Sumptuously

Once, Mrs. Tarkhad was staying in a certain house in Shirdi. At noon, meals were ready and dishes were being served, when a hungry dog turned up there and began to bark and whine. Mrs. Tarkhad got up at once and threw the dog a piece of bread, which the dog gulped with great relish.

sai and dog

In the afternoon, when she went to the Masjid, Sai Baba said to her, “Mother, you have fed Me sumptuously up to my throat and My afflicted pranas (life-forces) have been satisfied. Always act like this and this will stand you in good stead. Sitting in this Masjid, I shall never ever speak anything but the truth. Take pity on Me like this; First give bread to the hungry and then eat; Note this well.”

She could not at first understand the meaning of what Baba said. So, she replied, “Baba, how could I feed You? I am myself dependent on others and take my food from them on payment.”

Then Baba replied, “Having eaten that lovely bread, I am very content and am still belching. The dog which you saw before your meal and to which you gave the piece of bread, is one with Me and so are all the other creatures on earth. I roam in their forms; He, who sees Me in all these creatures is My beloved. So abandon the sense of duality and distinction and serve Me, as you did today.”

Upon hearing these nectar-like words, she was moved, her eyes were filled with tears, her throat was choked and her joy knew no bounds.

Essence

Baba saw the devotion and love of His devotees and accepted their offerings. The attitude and feelings of the devotee was more important to Him than the items or quantity offered. In the Bhagavad Gita. It is said that Lord sees only the devotion of the devotees. He does not need any paraphernalia. Even a small leaf, flower or water offered with love makes the Lord happy.

In the second story, the moral is “See God in all beings”. The Upanishads, the Geeta and the Bhagwat, all exhort us to perceive God or Divinity in all creatures. God is present in everyone and everything. Hence, we should love all and be of help to all. Any amount of prayers or offerings at the temple or chanting and reading of scriptures will not benefit if one does not show love and compassion to other living beings.

For children

From the above stories, children can learn to develop the attitude of love and sincerity in whatever they do. They can develop love and faith towards God and realise that they can derive inner strength from their faith.

They should help and be kind to all living beings including animals. If these habits are developed from young, they will grow up to be a good human being and bring peace and harmony in the society.

Another story to reinforce these values

Love and faith for God

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/unni-the-innocent-child-devotee/

Love towards animals

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/good-to-forgive-best-to-forget/

 

 

 

 

Master’s Messages-5.1 Re-establishment of Righteousness

Avatars come to earth to re-establish Dharma

avatar

Avatars like Sai Baba has come to sow the seeds of faith of devotion in religion and in God. Many atheists doubt, question and once they experience they dedicate their lives to the teachings of the avatar.

Sai has come down to the earth in response to the prayers of saints, sages and spiritual aspirants for the restoration of Dharma. Mahatmas, Mahapurushas and jnanis will work with Sai in re-establishing righteousness and paving the path for peace.

Story based on above message

Saibaba (known as Swami by His devotees) through His discourses always emphasised devotees to develop love for God. He told various short stories to drive this point home. One such story is shared below.

https://saibalsanskaar.wordpress.com/2017/07/19/a-dear-devotee/

Source- Sathya Sai Speaks- Vol 1- Chapter 5

Tales of Ramanuja – Lord as the mother who feeds

Value        : Faith

Sub value : Surrender, Conviction

Ramanuja

In the famous Sri Ranganatha Swamy temple in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu,  a long line of devotees would patiently wait  for the delicious Prasadam, even a few centuries ago. A poor Vaishnavite used to be the first one in the line and was notorious for demanding prasadam not only for himself, but for his entire family consisting of sixteen children! Everyday he would fight with the temple authorities for a huge amount of Prasadam, even as the devotees standing behind him had to make do with a tiny quantity. Exasperated, the authorities resorted to pushing him out of the temple. He would wail, “ My sixteen children would starve if they do not get this Prasadam, please have pity on me!”. One day, he decided to bring all his malnourished children to stand in the line. As usual, the fight with the temple authorities started on that day also. Sri Ramanuja, who happened to be at the temple at that time, asked the authorities what the commotion was all about. They told him about the demands of the Vaishnavite and said that they would not mind giving him extra Prasadam if only he was willing to do some service to the temple.

Turning to the Vaishnavite, Sri Ramanuja asked him what was preventing him from rendering some service to the temple. He replied,  “ Swamy! Look at my children ! They are under nourished and sick most of the times. All my time is spent in taking care of them. Moreover, unfortunately, I have not studied the Vedas or the Divya Prabandhams ( hymns by the Azhwars) and so cannot join in the temple Parayanam.  All I know is a part of Vishnu- sahasranamam only! What can I do ? “

Sri Ramanuja then asked him to recite the Vishnu Sahasranamam to the extent that he knew it. The Vaishnavite hesitated and then began the recitation. “ Vishvam Vishnu Vashatkaro Bhuta Bhavya   Bhavat -prabhuh ; Bhutakrit Bhutabhrut..”  That was all he knew in Vishnu-sahasranamam! Only upto the sixth name! The poor Vaishnavite was overcome by shame and self pity and exclaimed, “ That is the only part I know, Swamy!”     Sri Ramanuja looked at him reflectively and said, “ You recited the sixth name, Bhutabrut. Now onward you must go on doing the Japam of the sixth name, in this manner: Bhutabhrute namah. If you do this, you don’t have to seek  food; food will come to you, to your place! Will you do it?” The Vaishnavite eagerly nodded.

From that day onwards, he was not to be seen in the temple. All the commotion during the prasadam distribution time stopped altogether. A few days later, when Sri Ramanuja went to the temple, the temple authorities came to him. They had a different story to tell now. They said, “ Swamy! A strange thing is being observed nowadays in the temple. Though a substantial quantity of Prasadam is offered to Sri Ranganatha as usual, when we take up the distribution it is found that a considerable amount is missing! This has started happening after you told the fighting Vaishnavite to stop coming to the temple. Our security is tight but still this is happening. We feel that the Vaishnavite maybe responsible. Somehow he is managing to steal the Prasadam!” Sri Ramanuja was stunned to hear this. He asked them whether they knew where he stayed. They said, “ That is again strange! He has moved out of his house.” Sri Ramanuja asked them to search for the Vaishnavite and bring him, as he would like to see him. All their efforts were in vain to locate that person.

A few weeks later, Sri Ramanuja had to cross the Kollidam river that surrounds Srirangam, for an event in a nearby village. Suddenly he saw a person running after him, calling out, “ Swamy! Swamy!”. It was none other than the Vaishnavite who stopped coming to the Srirangam temple for Prasadam. He fell at the feet of Sri Ramanuja, weeping profusely. When he managed to talk, he said, “ Swamy! By your Grace, that boy is delivering the prasadam, both times everyday! All my children are no more sick or under -nourished. I have moved out of the place near the  temple so as not to get into problem with the temple authorities. I am eternally grateful to you. I am also doing the japam, ‘Bhutabhrute namah’, constantly.”   Sri Ramanuja was overwhelmed. “ Which boy? What did he say his name was?” asked Sri Ramanuja. The Vaishnavite replied that the boy introduced himself as The Servant of Sri Ramanuja!

Sri Ramanuja realized now what was going on. Sri Ranganatha Himself was delivering the food to the Vaishnavite, everyday, both in the morning and in the night!

The Divine Name ‘ Bhutabhrut’ means One Who Nourishes the entire Universe!

Learning

The compassionate Lord plays any role, even that of a thief to help his devotee, who calls out to Him in total faith, love and surrender. The above story reflects the power of sincere prayer by the Vaishanvaite who faithfully followed Ramanuja’s words;  and also shows how the Lord literally obeyed Ramanuja words when he told the Vaishnavite that food would come to his house.

 

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